News | Published December 14, 2011

Parents and Children with Special Health Care Needs Have Support Through Medical Home Approach

Gwynne Decker, medical home patient care coordinator at Mount Nittany Physician Group, Pediatrics

"The goal of the "medical home" concept is to provide more support for parents of children with special health care needs through a teamwork approach," according to Gwynne Decker, RN, BSN. Decker is the new medical home patient care coordinator at Mount Nittany Physician Group, Pediatrics in Boalsburg and Bellefonte.

Decker, through Mount Nittany Physician Group, Pediatrics, is working with the Pennsylvania Medical Home Initiative, know as EPIC-IC -- Educating Practices in Community-Integrated Care. EPIC-IC is a non-profit quality improvement program that works with pediatric practices in the state to help them implement medical home.

"It begins when you walk through the door -- we are a medical home," says Decker. She explains that a medical home is not a place, but rather an approach. "It's about developing a "plan of care" with the family, the physician, and a team of caregivers, and community organizations," she said.

The plan of care includes not only medical records, but also information about services, and agencies within the community that can assist families with the many aspects of care of a child with special health care needs.

One example of how the medical home approach can assist a family is connecting them with the Elks Nurses, a non-profit group that will help families fill out complicated forms, or serve as an advocate in the school setting at Individual Education Program (IEP) meetings with teachers.

Robert Huffard, MD, pediatrician, Mount Nittany Physician Group says, "We are happy to answer any questions you may have about this program. Feel free to call me, or Gwynne Decker, at 814.466.7921 to discuss the program further."

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Medical Home Initiative website at Click on "Parents" to join the "Especially for Parents" web community, and also visit